[Blogger’s Note: This is kind of a dark post. Really did see the two crows today, and heard a story like the latter one once. But where exactly this came from, I don’t know…]
Midwinter morning. Atop a threadbare shrub along a littered suburban artery, two young crows jaw above the din. I speak no Crow, only English, and my windows are rolled against the cold, but I imagine their daring: the double-dog, the triple, the triple-dog, the dark humour hot in the veins of each, the guffaws and squawk of chicken! They cheat death daily, these two, walking the yellow lines for bits of salted flesh. It passes the time.
The light goes green; on cue, they darken my windshield, chasing each other with unexpected agility, rolling and climbing alongside the oncoming delivery van, sweeping past truck and traffic to frolic like fighter planes before a rumbling Ford moving too fast for conditions along the service road. They bank and ascend to a high bare branch, laughing breathlessly.
They eat death for dinner, these two. From a far tree two houses over, their mother calls. They flap slowly away.
I think of them now, in the long night. I think of a summer day, and two black-clad bikers crossing the plains, winding through the hills and narrow canyon roads, wind in their hair and devil-may-care, the sun warm on their leathers, the dark humour hot in their veins. They eat danger for breakfast, these two. They take turns riding the yellow lines with their feet on their pegs, boot toes turned outward to the oncoming cars, egging each other closer, closer. They play this game for long miles and hours. It passes the time.
The end was not monotonous. High in the mountains on a narrow switchback, the winner’s toe caught a fender at fifty. His leg turned to jelly. With unexpected velocity he took to the air, rolling and climbing, darkening the windshield of the car behind the one he clipped. He bounced from glass to pavement, pavement to rocky shoulder. Leather did little; flesh did less. Bone met stone and gave way.
The paramedics came and went. The volunteer posse cleaned up as best they could. The dark humour stained the pavement even after the crows paid their respects. From far away, the cries of a mother.